Expecting mothers and their unborn bubs have benefited from action on tobacco control, with emerging evidence of declining rates in maternal smoking.
New research published in the Medical Journal of Australia today found an improvement in the number of babies readmitted to hospital in their first year, due in part to fewer mothers smoking during pregnancy.
The findings, based on New South Wales data, showed a decline in the rate of maternal smoking from 17 per cent to 12 per cent since 2001.
Decreasing rates of maternal smoking demonstrates the effectiveness of smoke free strategies such as plain packaging, retail display bans and price increases.
Smoking during pregnancy causes a range of complications including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, SIDS and the likelihood a child will have problems with lung development and lung function.
Importantly, the majority of pregnant women are offered smoking advice and support with quitting, including access to smoking cessation initiatives.
A number of dedicated public health programs are striving to reduce maternal smoking rates, including specific initiatives to address disproportionately high rates of maternal smoking among the Indigenous population.
Evidence suggests ongoing law reform, such as smoke free spaces, would further encourage women to choose smoke free pregnancies.
The urgent introduction of smoke free public places, including bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals and pedestrian malls, is a crucial strategy to help further reduce the maternal smoking rate.
Smoke free spaces are one of the best ways to protect everyone from the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke and will continue historic achievements in supporting more people to quit.
Smoke free spaces will help to ensure a more rapid decline in female smoking rates, with flow-on effects for rates of maternal smoking, promoting the health of mothers and their unborn babies.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.